What is Stereotyping?
Stereotyping is when a person forms an oversimplified opinion about a group of people or specific things. When you stereotype someone, you base your opinion on limited factual evidence. Stereotyping has become a common occurrence in the world we live in today. In some forms, it can morph into blatant discrimination. In other ways, stereotyping is often delivered as a joke or a running gag. However, many begin to buy into the lies. Because we live in the digital age, we quickly gather these jokes and deem them factual. In reality, people and things do not exhibit certain characteristics just because of our limited exposure.
Types of Stereotyping and Examples
There are many stereotypes that we think about every day. Some people stereotype others based on the colour of their hair! In movies you often see the blonde being portrayed as dumb and clueless. We know for a fact that many blondes do not fit this stereotype.
We also stereotype based on what clothing brand someone wears. If it’s not a popular brand, we automatically assume they are poor. Similarly, those with low income are construed as uneducated with an inability to succeed. As we have seen, skin colour is one of the biggest stereotypes around. It is believed that some skin colours are more dangerous and violent than other skin colours. Logic should tell us that this is never the case.
Other ways we stereotype people are based on their race, athletic ability, occupation, religion, political party, nationality, and the list goes on. To learn more about the various types and effects, BetterHelp offers professional articles on stereotyping that can benefit you.
How it Distorts Others View
Stereotyping happens when people make quick judgments. We make judgments about people usually within the first sixty seconds of meeting them. When you meet someone new, it’s natural to take note of their clothes, skin, hair, and demeanour. Unfourtunuelty, many will rely on limited information to make assumptions.
For example, a cashier with purple hair and face tattoos rings up your items. If the only information you had was the fact that your mother never let you colour your hair or get tattoos because it was menacing, you are probably going to think the same of this cashier. In reality, your cashier could be the nicest person you have ever met.
Stereotyping stops us from getting to know people and limits us. Once you learn more about stereotypes, you may ask yourself: am I only a stereotype?
How it Effects the Stereotyped
While stereotyping can distort our view of people, it affects others worse. Those that experience stereotyping are often treated differently, and in a way that makes them uncomfortable. People will treat others based on their stereotypes rather than the person’s personality.
When your life seems to be the butt end of a joke, it can feel disrespectful. It can also make you feel like you can not be your true self around people. Stereotyping can seriously harm a person’s confidence and self-esteem. Those that experience this judgment may begin to lose themselves to the assumptions of others.
In severe cases, individuals can experience belittling, denied opportunities, violence, and slander.
Ed Koch, former New York City mayor once stated,
“Stereotypes lose their power when the world is found to be more complex than the stereotype would suggest. When we learn that individuals do not fit the group stereotype, then it begins to fall apart.”
It is important for us, a society, to accept the individuality of each person. Everyone has something new and exciting to bring to the table, and we should embrace that!
If you or someone you love has experienced stereotyping and you don’t know how to cope with the confrontation of limited ideas, consider seeing a licensed counsellor or a therapist. Therapy offers privacy and assistance for those struggling with stereotyping.